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the politics of Jesus

Twenty years ago today, tanks cleared Tiananmen Square and squashed a peaceful democracy protest.  The long-term response of the Communist Party was brilliant: help guarantee that the educated elite can get rich, thus cutting the head off any emerging organization.  It seems to have worked.

However, I’m more interested in a particular claim of the growing underground church in China.  The brand of faith in China explicitly claims that believing in Christ has no political ramifications; the Christian faith does not threaten the single party rule of communist China.  This is the argument for the government to end its harassment of house church leaders.

I cannot speak to the validity of this claim for Christians in China, however, for Asian-Americans, can this hold true?  Our faith in Jesus Christ would then perpetuate the tendency of all Asian-Americans to be politically apathetic.  “Make no waves.”  “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

But if we are to live the prophetic legacy of Jesus Christ, then we should anticipate getting hammered.  We speak for the voiceless, and given that horrible model minority label that gets slapped on all of us, there are plenty of Asian-Americans who need an advocate.  And a political faith and agenda that is not crafted out of Colorado Springs, CO.

5 responses to “the politics of Jesus

  1. dannyyang ⋅

    as an addendum, kristof answered one of my questions about the church in china. search for my chinese name “yang sing-han”

  2. jadanzzy

    When Soong-Chan Rah came to Atlanta to speak, he was clear about his position with politics. For his sake, I will not mention who he supported during the elections, but I asked him what he thought about Hauerwas and his political position. Prof. Rah said that it is much easier for a white man with a certain level of education and prestige to write about spurning worldly politics. However, for the disenfranchised, the minority, and the oppressed, that is not a possibility. We need people in this world to speak on our behalf.

    Asian-Americans aren’t politically as politically active as we should be because we saw our parents work hard and be successful without needing to be politically active. This is the case, at least, with Korean-Americans. But I do believe that, whether we are “politically engaged” or not, Christian life should have very political undertones. We should be disrupting the status quo in the way we live. And by that, I agree with Danny in that I’d rather my Christian subversion not be taught from Colorado Springs.

  3. nick ⋅

    funny, i once heard a similar sentiment from rah regarding hauerwas. i will say that very few evangelicals truly understand hauerwas, his concerns, and the context in which he does his work. and it’s not as if hauerwas is opposed to political engagement or never amends or clarifies things he’s written in the past. i’d direct him to hauerwas’s recent book coauthored with political theorist rom coles, “Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian,” in which they discuss SNCC, L’Arche, and other models of grassroots politics.

  4. Pingback: the politics of Jesus « Next Gener.Asian Church | China Today

  5. In South Africa, the Church played an essential role in bringing down apartheid. I see no reason to think she should just be nice and quiet in China. I write in greater detail about such a topic in To An Unknown God, UC Berkeley’s student journal of Christian thought (shameless plug, I know), but I wonder what thoughts people have, particularly with reference to Scripture and what we can deduce from it.

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